Although many teachers will have been in daily contact with their students over lockdown, the school closures, followed by the long summer break, meaning that the majority of students haven’t stepped foot in a classroom for six months.
And whilst most children have missed their friends, teachers, and daily school life, it will be a shock to the system to return to full-day learning, when they are used to bite-sized chunks taught at home or via online platforms. And the truth is, we don’t really know what children have been doing for the last six months – some will have been actively learning with timetabled studies throughout, some will have been taught through more family-based unstructured activities, and some will have been unable to complete much new learning at all.
Regardless of what they’ve been doing for the past six months, the return to school will be a struggle for many children. I believe the school days will need to be made up of very small chunks of structured learning, followed by what has typically been known as a “brain break”. By increasing the amount of breaks, it eases children back into the pattern of spending the day in a structured learning environment.
The majority of children will have had some access to tech over the past six months. And there’s no reason to shun this on the return to the classroom. Whether you are using individual devices, a teacher device with screen-mirroring, or an interactive display like IMPACT Plus, with a built-in app store, apps are key to creating short breaks from structured learning.
You can plan in advance, with a list of apps that will fit into the general themes of your term’s topics. For example, Fairytale Puzzles are great for when your class are learning about literacy or Fraction Games can be a great addition to your maths lesson plan.
Most educational apps come at different levels, so are suitable for most students.
If you are using an interactive display that has split-screen feature, you can split the class into two and have races, or have different levels working on different apps.
Of course, you don’t have to choose apps that fit in with your term’s topics. There are plenty out there that are just fun, and can get children used to taking turns, reading, and playing with each other again.